Prejudice in "Of Mice and Men"

Essay by BlackJesusHigh School, 11th gradeA+, November 2006

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"Prejudices are the chains forged by ignorance to keep men apart." - Marguerite Gardiner. In society, both modern and in the past, prejudice has been a tool of thinking and labeling a group of race, people, class and culture in order to distinguish ones superiority and dominance from one another, but is simply a way to judge without gathering valid facts. In Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, we see that prejudice was just as rampant in the 1930's. In the novel, prejudice is demonstrated on 3 different levels: racial, sexual and social. It is shown how these prejudices generate false perceptions that although meant to aid, do no such good as their end result is clouding the truth.

Racial prejudice is most significant when describing Crooks, who happens to be the stable buck for the farm. Crooks is also a Black man with a back disability, hence the reason he is called "Crooks".

While most of the other workers live in the same area and attend to jobs that are quite similar, Crooks is forced to live by himself, work alone in the stables and is almost never in contact with any of the other characters. People such as Curly's Wife go as far as to ridicule Crooks and even look down at him simply for the fact that he is a Black man with a disability who is a laborer. In one instance, Curly's Wife threatens Crooks by telling him "Listen, Nigger, you know what I can do if you open your trap, I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it ain't funny" (Steinbeck, 98). The open brutality of this comment shows that even a woman, who would normally not have much or any say during this time in the 1930's, is...